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What Is the Nurse’s Role in Population Health?

Population health is defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group. This field also covers how policies and interventions link outcomes and patterns of health determinants. This approach is different from public health, health promotion, and social epidemiology, and it is a discipline dependent on BSN-prepared nurses (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) for success.

Population Health in Action

Nurses have long been considered the foundation of any healthcare system as they are the providers with the most patient contact. For this reason, they hold an essential role in population health. Population health is summed up as maintaining the health of a community, whether that community is a small town or an entire country. BSN-prepared nurses apply theories and concepts from nursing and public health sciences in order to assess the health status of a community. They also seek ways to prevent and control disease in sub-populations like families, aggregates and small communities.

Learning About Population Health

Nurses earning their BSN degrees take courses similar to Columbus State’s Professional Clinical Nursing RN II, which gives students an in-depth understanding of population health from every segment of society. These courses provide an overview of global health issues that go beyond national borders, class, race, ethnicity, and culture. This is done primarily through epidemiological and community assessment techniques, which are used to examine populations at risk, with special emphasis on ethnically diverse and vulnerable populations. Healthcare systems consider major local, state and national health issues, including mental health, and substance abuse and related co-morbidities; re-emergence of infectious and communicable diseases; environmental and occupational health hazards; bio-terrorism; and emergency preparedness and disaster response.

A Pathway to BSN

Online RN to BSN programs use existing knowledge from an associate degree and experience as a nurse to help candidates earn a bachelor’s degree. These programs are accelerated and flexible, allowing working nurses to enroll and attend classes and earn their degree in less than two years. Furthermore, the BSN curriculum includes essential daily skills beyond population health. Communication in healthcare, for instance, is an often underappreciated skill that requires a keen understanding of diverse cultures and techniques to incorporate pre-existing conceptions into modern medicine.

Population health is a proactive approach to maintaining the health of a group of people and relies heavily on BSN-prepared nurses who can apply high-level analytical skills to assess risk. These nurses possess a range of communication skills that help them convey important health information to under-represented groups or those from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Learn more about the Columbus State online RN to BSN program.


Sources:

American Journal of Public Health: What Is Population Health?

Academy Health: Population Health in the Affordable Care Act Era


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